“Everything is beautiful in its time,” Solomon wrote (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
That means today is beautiful—in spite of the long to-do-list, the stress, the mess, the frustrations, the disappointments, the uncertainty, the pain.
How can that be?
Because the negative aspects of our lives do not need to supersede the positive.
God’s glory—his splendor, his creative genius, his love—is being expressed all around us, every day, as…
…pinpoints of sunshine glimmer on a fresh dusting of snow.
…cups of hot tea warm the hands and spicy citrus flavors warm the spirit.
…the baby squeals with delight while chasing bubbles in the kitchen.
…the mail includes a handwritten note.
…a song on the radio speaks encouragement, perfectly suited to a current situation.
…the fire crackles merrily, enticing one to sit and rest in its glow.
The question is, am I aware of the God-infused beauty around me? Am I pausing from my work every now and then to look for it?
Sometimes my vision is clouded by the past. Guilt over poor choices and hurt over unfair treatment can interfere with the enjoyment of now. Even past blessings can be a distraction, if my attitude is, “Oh, if only I could go back to __________. Those were the best years of my life.”
Not that the past doesn’t serve us in the present. Experience is an important teacher. But when I keep looking back with longing, I miss the present.
On the other hand, a preoccupation with the future (the way I would like life to be next month or next year) can also interfere with my full participation in the present. Wishful thinking can easily slip into covetousness.
“Watch out!” Jesus said. “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Would I be stretching the truth of his statement to say: A beautiful life does not consist of the perfect spouse, perfect children, a perfect house, and a perfect job—even if such perfection existed.
A joy-filled life comes from embracing the gifts of each day. “We should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now (Ecclesiastes 5:19-20a, MSG).
I need to train myself to stay in the present, to enjoy the beautiful moments God is granting me now—to the fullest.
If the to-do list is long, I want to invite God to set the priorities and help me accomplish what is needful for that day. Those items that must be held over to another day may be postponed guilt free, because “there is a time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). A simpler, slower-paced life will certainly be a more beautiful life.
If uncertainty plagues my thoughts, I want to embrace the truth that God is in control, including the timing of events. He will keep me in perfect peace when I keep my mind steadfastly on him and trust in him (Isaiah 26:3). Trust is at the heart of a beautiful life.
If Plan A (that I was counting on) suddenly becomes Plan B (a debilitating disappointment), I want to accept and even appreciate the change of plan as an opportunity to grow. After all, Plan B did not catch God by surprise. There will be beauty in Plan B, too.
* * * * * * * * * *
Dear God, I thank you that you have made everything beautiful in its time. May I rest in the knowledge that this season of my life, with its particular challenges, was appointed by you. On this day may I:
- embrace the blessings of NOW,
- celebrate the completed tasks you gave me to do,
- handle the challenges with grace and trust in you,
- grow to be a little more like your beautiful Son, and
- behold your beautiful glory, on display all around me.
(Art credit: www.biblia.com.)